As a child, I have always loved the 1st week of September. The fresh smell of new books filling the air thrilled me.
At that time, “back-to-school” was mainly about the excitement of trying out my school supplies and getting to know my new buddies & teachers. Exams and homework basically were just vague and often unwelcomed side effects of this wonderful week.
Just like children, I have no doubt that consultants, and companies in general, could be significantly and positively impacted by this 1st week of September. My experience during the immersion camp of The House of Marketing is a strong proof of this.
How did the magic happen?
With a mixture of unique, potent and carefully selected ingredients.
- Who? Freshly hired recruits with different backgrounds and seniority – 13 amazing individuals to learn from
- What? A challenging and real-life business case
- Where? A neutral and rather isolated environment – a house in the countryside
- When? 1st week of September, for the kick-start after summer holidays
Why hold an immersion camp for your team?
Personally I REALLY enjoyed that week. So much that it took 12 hours for the adrenaline in my system to subside. That said, there are a few key elements that resonated looking back at my experience and discussing it with my peers.
- An immersion camp works as an INCUBATOR
“Incubator” is a really nice word to those who likes metaphors. Literally an incubator is an enabler used to maintain ideal environmental conditions for experimental work. Applied to a business context it is the structure to support start-ups, by boosting high-speed innovation and breakthrough ideas. As a matter of fact last week turned into an incubation period for all of us.
The combination of both a small group of people and a limited time enabled the emergence of a new way of thinking and behaving, converging to create more value with less resources. In particular, I was amazed by the way some abilities seemed to naturally emerge, pushed by this inspiring environment:
- A proactive team consultation, data decantation and avoidance of unwanted information
- A shortened decision-making process
- An undeniable quickness of execution
- The ability to put into perspective mistakes, going together with an agility in initiating appropriate changes
All of these skills worked as catalysts to foster our “think out-of-the-box” spirit, which led us to bring an innovative and tailored recommendation to a unique business problem.
- The immersion camp is UNIFYING
The MECE principle states that each set of information should be “Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive”. During the week, I realized that there was another application of this statement than just for building impactful presentations. Indeed, it matches perfectly with the synergies that people, bringing together their different personalities and backgrounds, succeeded to create.
Diversity within the team resulted in a visible and exponential gain of productivity and revealed some unexpected talents. Working on a real business case with our peers pushed each of us to give the best.
Overall, we were conscious about how fortunate we were not to face any unconstructive disagreement one could expect in such a pressured environment. However, as of now, I am extremely impressed by the massive team building effect it had, and how much it contributed to create a unique DNA to our newly “graduated” consultants.
- The immersion camp allows individuals to REVEAL THEMSELVES
Honestly, there is no better way to discover intrinsically what you are worth than being stretched out of your comfort zone to such an extent. The combination of all the above elements pushed us to take risks, and to actually put into light some unexpected qualities as well as to explore our personal limits. At our peril.
In fact, I am confident that this adventurous experiment brightly bore out my expectations both in terms of career and private life, and showed me the internal resources I could sustainably count on to achieve my goals.
What can we conclude?
“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them”, said Steve Jobs.
The immersion camp is a unique experience. But what makes it unforgettable, genuine and top-notch by essence is neither the challenging business case itself, nor the high-level trainings.
It is definitely the passion and the faith of individuals.